BNET are reporting a tiff between The Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU) and the MPAA
CARU has sent out a stream of press releases indicating it believes that sexy, violent movies are being wrongly advertised to kids — and the MPAA, per its agreement with CARU, has done nothing about it.
Often, CARU discovers that the movie studio intentionally placed the ad on kids' TV. That happened recently with an ad for Star Trek . The film is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, and brief sexual content, but was
advertised during children's programming hours. CARU's rules state that advertisers should take care to assure that only age appropriate videos, films and interactive software are advertised to children.
MPAA tells BNET that it has never found a movie studio in violation of its advertising rules, even though CARU has referred dozens of movies to MPAA over the years for alleged violations just like Paramount's.
It turns out that MPAA's idea of what's appropriate for kids is different from CARU's. MPAA notes that PG-13 is a cautionary rating, not a restrictive one. It suggests 13-year-olds shouldn't see the movie, but 12-year-olds can still buy their own
tickets if they want to. So PG-13 movies can be advertised to under-13s.
Update: Nutters whinge at advertising Transformers to children
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has sent a letter to Chairman Jon Leibowitz of the Federal Trade Commission urging the FTC to stop the marketing of violent PG-13 movies targeted to children. CCFC cited over 2,700 ads shown on
children's television stations for four of this summer's violent PG-13 blockbusters including Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen , Star Trek , Terminator Salvation , and X-Men Origins: Wolverine . The commercials were
shown between 6:00 am and 8:00 pm on children's stations such as Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, and include ads for the films, as well as movie-related licensed toys and Burger King Kid's Meal promotions.
CCFC's appeal comes two years after the national advocacy organization first urged the FTC to act on the marketing of PG-13 movies. CCFC's initial request was spurred by the 2007 premiere of the first Transformers film which was marketed to
children as young as two through ads, toys, and food promotions.
Because the MPAA continues to ignore the FTC's request, this summer preschoolers are once again being subjected to a barrage of advertising for violent PG-13 blockbusters, said Susan Linn, CCFC's Director and a psychologist at Judge Baker
Children's Center: When it comes to the film industry and children's wellbeing, it's clear that self-regulation has failed.
Added Dr. Linn, It's bad enough that movie companies advertise violent, PG-13 films on children's channels before 8:00 pm. But marketing the films through ads for licensed toys and kid's meals is especially unfair and deceptive. For years, the
FTC has expressed concern about violent, PG-13 movies being promoted to children. Now the Commission needs to act.
Update: Petitioning the FTC
6th August 2009. From examiner.com
Armed with over 3400 signatures, a significant number of statements from parents, educators and citizens nationwide, along with an updated figure of almost 5,000 commercials aired for PG-13 rated movies (March to July 2009), the Campaign for a
Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC) have submitted their petition and request to the Federal Trade Commission's Chairman, Jon Leibowitz.
CCFC is asking once again for the FTC's assistance in getting the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to stop the film industry from targeting young children with their advertising for PG-13 films, which includes significant
The US Federal Trade Commission has not called for more regulation of the broadcast and cable industries to protect kids in the digital age, but it pointed to what it saw as some self-regulation issues with TV ads for music and movies.
The FTC said : a study due out next year will help it determine whether media companies took its recommendations about expanding self-regulations to cover all forms of ads and promotions and the extent to which they had limited their use of
character licensing to healthier foods and beverages.
While the FTC said it favored self-regulation in violent content, it pointed to its 2009 violence report and its ongoing concern that marketers can do much more to restrict the promotion of mature-rated or -labeled products to children. It
pointed to the marketing of music and movies, saying that a lack of limits on ads for explicit content has resulted in ads on television shows that disproportionately attract young teenagers. It also points out that movie studios directly and
pervasively market PG-13 movies to children under 13 on television, in print, and on the Internet, even though the rating is supposed to represent a strong caution to parents that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
The FTC said in its comments that it would continue to monitor this area. It also said that mobile applications are changing the way children access entertainment and that, at least in the near term, the industry needs to help parents deal with
that flood by providing information and effective parental controls.
US film censors of the MPAA have said that ads for Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Fox's X-Men: First Class on kids TV shows were approved for the specific times and places they ran.
The New York Times had reported that the Children's Advertising Review Unit had suggested that Walt Disney Studios and 20th Century Fox may have gone against industry guidelines against the use of ads for PG-13 films during most TV shows
targeting young children.
an MPAA spokesman said in a statement:
Generally, a few PG-13 rated motion pictures are considered by the Advertising Administration to be compatible with children's programs. In the noted instances, the Advertising Administration approved the advertisements for
the specific time and placement in which they ran.
The Advertising Administration approves ads for rated films on a case-by-case basis, taking various factors into consideration, including not only the rating of the motion picture, but its content, the content of the
programming with which it will be placed and the time of day in which the ad is run. The PG-13 rating is a strong caution to parents that they should investigate the motion picture before taking their young children; it does not necessarily mean
that the motion picture is inappropriate for children under 13. Indeed, that determination is best left to parents who know and understand the sensitivities of their children.